Monday, May 5, 2008

Picking the Winners in NCAA Division I, Care to Try?

Today on the Tennis Recruiting Network, Harry Cicma, Marc Lucero and I weigh in on the upcoming NCAA Division I tournament. As most of you know, I'm not one for predictions, but I did pick the team finalists, and in a zootennis post last week, picked Barte and Devvarman to take the individual titles.

Last year for the Kalamazoo tournament, I asked readers to select their winners, and I'd like to try that again for the NCAAs. Leave a comment with the names of your men's and women's team winners and men's and women's individual champions, and the school you think the women's doubles champion will come from (as a tiebreaker). That's it. When making your comment (to this post) use a name that has some relation to you, although it does not have to be your real name, post it, and if you are right, you'll be recognized in the Honor Roll and receive the designation of "college tennis expert" just like Harry, Marc and me!

Seriously, I ran across this blog today on D-III men's college tennis, and I'm jealous of all the comments and knowledge bandied about there. (The defending national champions, UC-Santa Cruz, lost in the round of 16, so they've already had a lot to discuss). Although we have some serious college tennis fans here at zootennis, we need more. Take a guess (deadline is next Wednesday, the 14th), there's no cost to this lottery! (I'll add a category called "contest" to this post, so it will still be easy to find a week from now.)

To follow up on the results from yesterday, the U.S girls' victory over Canada in the Junior Fed Cup qualifying is detailed here, and the unbelievable eight-hour length of the tie makes it all the more unfortunate that Canada has been deprived of a spot in the final 16 in September.

TCPalm.com had this story on Chase Buchanan's win in Vero Beach, with an interesting set of statistics of the sort you get from Grand Slam matches at the bottom. The Daily Progress talks with Alexis Gordon about her first pro win in Charlottesville and her future goals.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe that there is a Division 3 tennis blog. That is unreal. And that guy knows his stuff. Seeing those names (Kenyon, Depauw, Kzoo, Wheaton) brings back a lot of great memories.

Isn't it remarkable how Buchanan and Rhyne Williams have seemingly swapped places over the last year? A year ago, Rhyne was on fire, didn't he win a Futures? Now, he seems to be struggling some and Buchanan is red hot. Hopefully, they can both get it going at the same time. We're heading towards another very entertaining Kalamazoo again this year.

Anonymous said...

Ok...let's see where this goes with the guys
Elite 8
Virginia over Baylor
Ole Miss over Georgia
Florida over Illinois

Virginia vs. Mississippi
UCLA vs. Florida

Virginia vs UCLA with the Cavs winning the championship!!

I'm not ready to go with the individuals yet, I'll post in a couple of days.

Anonymous said...

Mens: Virginia over UCLA (4-2)
Devvarman in Singles
Devvarman/Huey in Doubles

Womens: I'm going to go with GA Tech in the team event and don't know enough about womens to make a singles or doubles prediction.

also be sure to check out: http://www.thesabre.com/message_board/tennis/

visiting fans are always welcome

Anonymous said...

should also say we've got a little pool going on at thesabre board mentioned above... not for any money but its still fun

Anonymous said...

Matt Brown went from #4 last year to #8 this year for Baylor. Is he injured?

Will Ward is still ranked by the ITA but not even on Kentucky’s lineup even though they have everyone listed.

Drew Eberly listed as #7 for Ohio State even though he played almost every match this season at either 4, 5 or 6???

Anonymous said...

Im not ready to make my predictions just yet for the team competition but I am backing two people in the womens tourney. I will go with Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas to win the title and Lindsay Nelson as my darkhorse, someone will have to knock her off before I lose faith in her. On the doubles side I will go with Megan Moulton-Levy & Katarina Zoricic to take the title home.

On the mens side, not taking the brackets and seeding into account here is who I like to make the quarters: Devvarman, Tveit, Srugo, Helgeson, Poerschke, Vallverdu, Brugues and Begemann. In the end I will have to go with Devvarman taking down an inspired Brugues who plays out of his mind in front of the home fans. In dubs I like Farah & vantHof. I think the other finalist will be a surprise team like Koniecko/Moneke or Hunt/Schnugg.

Anonymous said...

Eberly had surgery in the spring (appendectomy?) so isn't 100%.

scott said...

I'll take UVA over UCLA in the men's final. Devvarman to win singles and Koniecko/Moneke to win doubles.

On the women's side, Northwestern over Florida in the finals, Fani Chifchieva of Auburn in singles, Megan Alexander/Marrit Boonstra of Florida in doubles.

Anonymous said...

I'll repeat (briefly) what I wrote a week ago.

On the men's side I believe Virginia will win the team event and I believe Devvarman will do the triple - team, individual singles and doubles (with Huey). Boring choices but that's what the form dictates. Apart from stating the obvious, I think Vant Hof/Farah should be a genuine chance in the doubles along with Holmstrom/Persson. Also, don't be surprised if J.P.Smith of Tennessee goes a long way in the singles.

On the women's side I think that Northwestern is the team to beat but everything will depend on Georgia Rose. If she's 'off' they're in trouble. Don't see Georgia Tech repeating and think Duke might be the surprise packet.

Individually I think Miseviciute is a class act but I do wonder if she'll be at a disadvantage not having played a lot of tough opposition during the year. Her team won't figure in the finals so she'll miss the chance of some tough matches there:not sure if that will be a good or bad thing. Same goes for Zemenova. Of the rest, my wildcard is Sanaz Marand who has the game to win and just needs the confidence to go along with it. In the doubles I'd like to see Buck-Teft win and think it will come down to either them or Amanda Fink/Gabriela Niculescu

Anonymous said...

Austin, Matt Brown played #3 at the NCAAs last year. He had a wrist injury that kept him out the first half of the season. Played a few matches then that was it. I assume the wrist is still giving him trouble. Repeating last week, UVa over UCLA in the finals. I think they UCLA/SC winner will reach the finals. Without Abid, that match should be a toss up. They've played 2 tight ones already. On the other side I'll go with Ole Miss over Georgia. I'm assuming the Dawgs are going to still have injury issues. Though a healthy Flores & Garrapiz probably means a different result. A team has to win the doubles to beat the Hoos. It will be very very difficult to win 4 singles against that lineup. I think UCLA & a full strength Georgia have the best chances. I think Ohio St is one year away. Baylor could give Virginia fits if Lars plays like he is capable. Baylor needs maybe 1 more guy to be a true title contender. They just have not been able to stay healthy or play consistently well. Ole Miss & SC can beat anyone but I don't think they can sustain their peak level for an entire tournament. It's going to takes a tremendous effort & likely some good breaks as well to take down Virginia

Anonymous said...

Why do you say Ole Miss over UGA? UGA beat them earlier this season 5-2 WITHOUT Helgeson OR Flores playing singles. I mean Drake Bernstein was playing #6 for goodness sakes. He is #8 or #9 on the depth chart. I would not be surprised in the least if UGA beat UVA. If Flores is healthy I think both him and Hunt are better at #3&4 than Inglot and Singh. If Schnugg is on he has a much bigger game than Huey. I personally think that if UGA could pull off the dubs its over. They do have four starters back from their national championship team.

Anonymous said...

Austin, did you see the SEC tournament? I say Ole Miss over Georgia because....Georgia can lose! And they can lose easliy. Luis' health is obviously a huge factor, however, Helgeson is no slouch at number 1 and he got beat badly by Oulelette. Schnugg was destroyed by Briceno and you know what...Nate tried. He didn't tank, didn't throw a hissy fit, didn't play that horrible, he got beat fair and square. Garrapiz was beat badly by Hochwalt and the doubles....Hunt and Schnugg initially were losing their match against Vanderbilt, it was suspended at 6-5 and definitely should have lost against Florida. UGA is NOT what they were last year regardless of who is back.

I'm still taking Ole Miss over Georgia.

Done said.

Anonymous said...


Sweet Sixteen
Virginia over Michigan
Tennessee over Baylor
Georgia over Pepperdine
Mississippi over North Carolina
Southern Cal over Tulsa
UCLA over Alabama
Texas over Florida
Ohio State over Illinois

Elite Eight
Virginia over Tennessee
Georgia over Mississippi
UCLA over Southern Cal
Ohio State over Texas

Final Four
Georgia over Virginia
Ohio State over UCLA

National Championship
Ohio State over Georgia


Sweet Sixteen
Northwestern over Fresno State
California over Duke
Stanford over Clemson
Baylor over Notre Dame
Florida over Vanderbilt
Georgia Tech over Texas
Georgia over North Carolina

Elite Eight
Northwestern over California
Baylor over Stanford
Georgia Tech over Florida
UCLA over Georgia

Final Four
Northwestern over Baylor
UCLA over Georgia Tech

National Championship
UCLA over Northwestern

Anonymous said...

Fair question. I should clarify that I'm assuming Georgia's injury troubles will continue. I agree with you that a healthy Georgia is better than Ole Miss and would give Virginia all they could handle (and maybe then some). I'm still wondering how effective Flores will be and just guessing that his foot will still give him trouble. Could be totally off there.

Another thing, I was basing that "guess" on the fact that Ole Miss closed the season in a much stronger fashion than the Dawgs, finishing with rather routine wins over Tenn and UF (two teams that had just beaten Georgia, albeit w/o Flores). Tveit is also playing much better and had a nice win over Ouellette.

This is just my two cents, but I think folks make a little too much of the 5-2 win by Georgia (without the two big guns). I actually watched the entire match. No doubt, it was a very impressive performance. However, I don't think that would happen anywhere but in Athens (which provided a huge home court boost) and it would be difficult to replicate even if they played there again. A couple surprising results there: Mainly the #3 doubles match. That was not a match Georgia expected to win, but their "fill in" guys played fantastic and Ole Miss seemed to play a little tight. You could really tell with how the celebrated. Everyone went nuts when doubles finished.

That match was huge b/c it provided an enormous (and unexpected) confidence boost which carried over into the singles.

One thing to keep in mind: Ole Miss played a pretty extended indoor season this year. The TN/Georgia matches represented their first outdoor weekend matches all season. Then, rain forced the TN match indoors. So, the Georgia match was the first really "competitive" match they played outdoors with very little preparation. Georgia had a much less strenous indoors campaign (outside of Seattle) and already had played a few outdoor matches.
That was a factor to some degree.

All Ole Miss needed was the doubles and Tveit (whose match was an anticlimatic 10 point tiebreaker after the match had been decided). Tveit had turned the match with a fairly convincing 2nd set when the Georgia got to 4.

If Flores is not in the lineup/or full speed (which all this thought process assumes), my thinking is that Ole Miss is the favorite in the doubles. If they can get that, they will be favored down low in the lineup at 5 and 6. Then, they just need one point from 1-4. Tveit will play #1 this time and will be at least a toss up, especially seeing how he didn't lose to both guys who beat Helgeson recently (1 win, 1 susp match). Wellerman likely loses to Schnugg or whomever. Hunt probably favored over Poole. The big question is how recovered are both Garrapiz (mono), whose baseline game just wore down Poole, and Ten Berge (foot) Ole Miss's #4 who has been out for a while too. Just going with the team that has the momentum against the one that currently seems snakebit. Could easily be wrong.

Regarding Georgia/UVa, it's kind of a shame that the Dawgs are not 100% just to see what would happen just to be able to say definitively.
Inglot is likely a loss for Virginia until he proves otherwise, though they say he is as healthy as he has been in a while. Singh played great all year until an illness set him back for about two weeks. He's back to full strength, but Hunt has played well all year too. I still believe UVa is a clear favorite at #6 and #1.
Plenty of tossups, though, even without a 100% Flores. I think you may be discounting Huey a bit. He's a better outdoor player than indoors and has been improving throughout the spring. Last year, he beat Flores in the indoors and in the NCAA semis, their match was in a 3rd set when Georgia clinched. He likely would have made a pretty good run in the Singles if he could have avoided the top 5/6 guys. However, he drew Levine first round and lost a competitive match (one break each set). He's got a decent chance against anyone in the Singles draw this year.

Regardless, it's going to be a difficult event with several possible winners. The NCAA Champ will have earned the title.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, if Flores is injured then I have Ole Miss beating Virginia in the semis and Ohio State beating Ole Miss in the finals. However, I did my picks with the assumption that with three weeks of rest he would be ready to go.

On the right side of the draw I could see USC, UCLA, Texas, Florida, Illinois or Ohio State getting through to the finals. Tulsa and Alabama are the only ones I dont think could get that far.

bruddahc said...

cavs for the mens title, cardinal for womens. devarmann for mens singles and miseviciute for womens. and the ncaa site is not posting scores and results from each of the matches. whats up with that?